Council Approves Raise, Five-Year Term for Clerk

While there was some debate about an unfinished subcommittee conference, the City Council voted unanimously on Monday night to appoint Clifford Cunningham to a five-year term as the Clerk to the City Council and approved a pay raise of just over $20,000 for the position.

In March, the council voted unanimously to appoint Cunningham, replacing long-time Clerk to the Council Paul Casino.

Cunningham was initially hired on a 12-month probationary period with a salary of $54,819. On Monday night, the council voted to remove the probationary tag and appoint Cunningham to a five-year term at a salary of $75,197.

Councilors Enio Lopez and Giovanni Recupero supported a failed motion to send the appointment back to a subcommittee.

Both councilors ended up voting in support of the appointment and praised the work Cunningham has done, but said they were concerned because a previous subcommittee meeting on the appointment ended early.

Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot said that over the past several years, both the workload and the production in the clerk’s office have increased.

“We have new city councilors coming in and we have a new city manager,” said Vidot. “I think it is important for us to fund this office and the people in these roles to be able to do the work. It is not easy to deal with 11 city councilors and 11 different personalities.”

Vidot was on the search committee that recommended the appointment of Cunningham, and she said she initially had some concerns and recommended the 12-month probationary period. Since that time, she said Cunningham has excelled at the position and she recommended waiving the probationary period.

Vidot, along with several other councilors, said there was a need for the city to properly compensate its employees in City Hall for the work they do.

“If we are not willing to take care of our staff and show how we appreciate our staff, that that really just sends a message that we don’t have confidence in our ability to do the work of the people and govern,” said Vidot.

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